Adult Children and Parents, Dating Again

When it comes to single parents with children in their 20s, dating can be a delicate and complicated manner. For people of Gen X (born 1965-76), dating is quite different than it is for Millennials or Gen Z. Growing with the rise of the internet, they’ve picked up the habit of online dating very quickly, bouncing from app to app.


However, this is a comparatively minor issue than what some single parents face when dealing with their children. For children who are supportive of their relationships, the roles tend to be reversed. Because their children are even more familiar with online dating and latest dating trends, they often give their single parent advice on how to dress and what to do during initial dates. After all, these adult children are invariably more recently engaged in dating.

In some cases, children even try to figure out their parent’s sex life! While this may seem odd to many Gen X-ers, being open about sex is something that Millennials have done very well at!

However, as many supportive children as there are, there tend to be many resistant to the idea of their parents dating, online or otherwise, as well. This can be due to a multitude of reasons: 

a) Safety concerns, as meeting online strangers in real life can have its risks

b) Sense that the new partner may replace the child’s parent

c) Past relationships turning sour

d) General need to be protective of the parent


For those of you whose children are reluctant to see their parents dating, here are a few simple, effective ways to get them on the same page:

a) Encourage them to view things from your perspective

This can’t be emphasized on enough. It’s important for children to look at their parents’ perspective and understand why they want to date and why they choose online dating. A divorce, or even a tragedy, doesn’t mean the end of relationships forever. We’re human beings too and want and need companionship just like every other person does.


b) Don’t allow competition for your affection

When meeting the parent’s new partner, it’s ideal that children don’t act grumpy with them and try to unintentionally compete for your affection! Give your child some space to get used to the new relationship. It’s important, especially at the start of a new relationship, to get your own space. 


c) Remind your children that you are their parent and they can trust your judgement

Single parents of a certain age may not be up to date with modern dating trends, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know when we’re compatible with someone! Remind your kids that you’ve been alive long enough to take care of yourself! 


d) Don’t compare your relationships to theirs

Relationship between young people in their 20s are quite different from more mature relationships. Priorities are different, circumstances are different and approaches are different as well. One simply can’t compare relationships from two different age groups. Forget apples and oranges, this would be more like apples and tigers! Both sides have a tendency to fall into this trap, with parents and children judging relationships by their own standards and stumbling into the looming generational gap. 


Children in their 20s believe themselves to be adults. However, that just means that you need to renegotiate your relationships with one another. Don’t step into your children’s relationships unnecessarily, and make it clear that you won’t allow them to do so with your relationships either. It doesn’t help anyone and only spreads negativity. The best way for children to truly understand their parents’ perspective is to have a heart-to-heart and understand the position that they’re in and why they choose to start dating. This leads to a healthier understanding… and, subsequently, a healthier relationship.


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